New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday set aside the Calcutta high court order imposing a complete ban on use of firecrackers in West Bengal during the ongoing festival season.
“…we are convinced that Calcutta High Court should have called upon parties to give explanation before passing such an extreme order”, the apex Court observed in the order.
A special bench of justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi said the top court had allowed the use of green crackers in areas where the ambient air quality is “moderate”.
The bench clarified that its earlier order will be applicable to all the states uniformly and West Bengal cannot be an exception.
“There cannot be a complete ban on firecrackers. The mechanism must be strengthened to stop misuse,” the Supreme Court had while hearing a petition challenging the blanket ban.
The bench also asked the West Bengal government to explore the possibility to ensure that banned firecrackers and related items are not imported in the state at the entry point itself.The high court on October 29 had banned sale, use and purchase of all types of firecrackers in West Bengal.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court had said the West Bengal government and the state pollution control board will have to be heard if any order is to be passed on pleas against the Calcutta High Court order banning firecrackers during Kali Puja, Diwali and some other festivals this year to check air pollution amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The petitioners challenging the ban had said the high court failed to appreciate that green crackers with reduced emission by a minimum of 30 percent have been introduced in the local market.
The plea was filed by the chairman of a West Bengal-based firecracker association and another such group.
The petitioners had said that they represent the interest of about seven lakh families who are involved in the process of manufacture and sale of fireworks and are involved in the fireworks industry in one manner or another.